Mark Darr, Johnny Key Apply To Be UA Lobbyist

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Former Lt. Gov. Mark Darr and state Sen. Johnny Key, R-Mountain Home, are among 32 people applying to be the next lobbyist for the University of Arkansas.

Darr, who lives in Springdale, resigned from the lieutenant governor’s office on Feb. 1 after being fined by the state Ethics Commission for spending violations. He applied for the lobbying job, or vice chancellor for government and community relations, in a letter to Kathy Van Laningham, the vice provost for planning, on Feb. 20.

On his application, under a heading asking job candidates the reason they left their previous job, Darr states, “Will explain in the interview process.”

Darr’s references include House Speaker Davy Carter, R-Cabot, former Razorback head football coach Ken Hatfield (“He is a friend and mentor to me”) and state Supreme Court Associate Justice Courtney Goodson.

(Darr is pictured at right in this file photo from an appearance last year on “5NEWS Sunday Morning” with Managing Editor Larry Henry.)

Key sent his application packet on Feb. 21 and lists one of his skills as being a “consensus builder who understand the legislative process.”

“I have built strong relationships at all levels of government and with business and community leaders,” he writes.

Two previous applicants, Ken James and Sarah Ganahl, have withdrawn their names from consideration, said Mark Rushing, director of strategic communications.

The selection committee is set to meet March 12 to discuss applications and then will make recommendations by early April. The search process is open until the position is filled, meaning other applications can be received, Rushing said.

University of Arkansas lobbyist Richard Hudson, who hosts the popular Political Animals Club of Northwest Arkansas speaker series, is retiring from the lobbying position on July 31, according to a university news release.

To see the full list of applicants for the job, click here, here, here (for Darr and Key applications), here and here.

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